By Winston Shek
Canadian Low-Cost Carrier Swoop Introduces New Flight to Jamaica
On Friday, Canadian ultra-low-cost carrier Swoop announced its second destination in the Caribbean from Toronto Pearson International Airport, growing its winter holiday portfolio. Specifically, the Calgary-based airline will launch flights to Kingston, Jamaica, two times weekly on a Boeing 737-800 beginning in December.
Starting on Dec. 8, Swoop will fly from Toronto to Kingston as flight WO646, departing Toronto at 1:25 p.m. and arriving in Kingston at 5:35 p.m. On the return flight, Swoop departs Kingston at 6:20 p.m., arriving in Toronto at 10:40 p.m. These seasonal flights run on Wednesdays and Saturdays through April 30, 2022.
“We are thrilled to be expanding our presence in Jamaica with the introduction of service to Kingston to connect friends and families this holiday season and year ahead,” Bert van der Stege, Swoop Head of Commercial and Finance, said in a statement. “Our travelers have embraced our always affordable flights to Jamaica and we look forward to building on our success in the region with our new non-stop service connecting Toronto and Kingston.”
Swoop intends to utilize one of its nine Boeing 737-800s on the route, featuring 189 economy class seats, including 39 seats with “extra legroom.”
Currently, Swoop plans to fly from two destinations in Canada to Montego Bay, Jamaica, its first destination in the country. On Sept. 11, the Canadian low-cost carrier resumed its flights from Toronto Pearson to Montego Bay, marking its first international flight since it suspended international flights in January 2021 due to Covid-19 restrictions imposed by the Canadian government.
“The Jamaica Tourist Board is thrilled to see Swoop returning to the destination with the resumption of its Montego Bay flight this month, in addition to the exciting launch of the airline’s new Kingston service this December. Swoop is an important airline partner for us in the Ontario market and we truly value their continued support and confidence in the destination. Whether you’re looking for sun and sand or a cultural city escape, Jamaica is ready to welcome customers for a safe and seamless getaway this fall and winter season,” the country’s tourism operator said in a statement.
In anticipation of higher winter travel demand, Swoop plans to resume a seasonal weekly flight from Hamilton, Canada — located in the province of Ontario — to Montego Bay starting on Nov. 1, a delay from a planned launch on Oct. 15. The flight will be one of four resumed international destinations for Hamilton, including Cancun, Mexico; Orlando, Fla.; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and St. Petersburg, Fla. In years past, Hamilton, Ontario served as an eastern Canadian base for Swoop, before shifting its operation to Toronto Pearson after the onset of the pandemic.
In addition, for the winter of 2021, the subsidiary of parent company WestJet will add a multitude of international flights to Mexico and transborder flights to the U.S. In Mexico, the airline will continue service to Cancun, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta and fly to five destinations in the U.S., including Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix, San Diego and St. Petersburg, Fla.
Competition-wise, Swoop will face competition from three carriers on its Toronto to Kingston route. Primarily, it will face competition from Air Canada — which switches its service to its leisure subsidiary Air Canada Rouge in mid-December — WestJet and Caribbean Airlines, which operates its flight from Dec. 16 through Jan. 15.
Swoop was announced in 2017 as a venture by WestJet to compete with the emerging ultra-low-cost carrier Flair Airlines. On June 20, 2018, the airline commenced its first flight from Hamilton to Abbotsford, Canada — a secondary airport for Vancouver. Initially, its concept was to serve secondary airports in Canada or underserved cities in Canada. Swoop offered an array of flights from Hamilton, Ontario, 68 kilometers away from Toronto, while utilizing Abbotsford, British Columbia, 71 kilometers away from Vancouver as one Western Canadian base.
Later that year and into 2019, Swoop expanded into the U.S., Caribbean and Mexico markets, with a total of nine new destinations. Montego Bay was among the four new Caribbean and Mexico markets launched at the time.